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Death toll from E. coli outbreak rises to five

The Local · 27 May 2011, 11:54

Published: 27 May 2011 06:52 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 May 2011 11:54 GMT+02:00

Reinhard Burger told ARD's Morgenmagazin that 60 new infections had been detected between Thursday and Friday. Roughly 200 cases of infection by E. coli bacteria have been confirmed in Germany, many of them in the Hamburg area, though hundreds more are suspected. Ten cases have been reported in Sweden, four in Denmark, three in Britain and one in the Netherlands.

Authorities warned people who had recently visited Germany to be on the lookout for symptoms of E. coli infection. The most severe sufferers are hit by haemolytic uraemic syndrome, a disease that can result in acute renal failure, seizures, strokes and coma.

"People who have recently visited Germany should pay attention to symptoms, such as bloody diarrhoea, and accordingly consult their physician," said Frederic Vincent, the European Commission's spokesman for health issues.

Officials also homed in on the outbreak’s sources, identifying Spanish cucumbers from the provinces as Alneria and Malaga as being partly to blame.

"The Andalusian authorities are investigating to find out where the contamination comes from and when it took place," said a spokesman for the Spanish food safety agency AESA on Friday.

"This type of bacterium can contaminate at the origin or during handling of the product," the spokesman said. Spain was seeking further information from the German authorities, he said.

There have been no reports of contamination within Spain, AESA said.

Another suspect batch of cucumbers from the Netherlands, but traded in Germany, was under investigation while German health officials continued to hunt for other potential sources of contamination.

Meanwhile, Gerd Sonnleitner, the head of the German Farmers' Association (DVB), called for stronger regulation of imported vegetables and said there has been unwarranted fearmongering about German vegetable products.

“We have very strict rules over the entire chain on controlling and accepting what we think is right,” Sonnleitner said. “Unfortunately imports are tested much more laxly.

Story continues below…

"We demand that the EU common standards exist. The rules will also apply to third countries that supply us, " he added, explaining that German farmers have been hurt even though the outbreak is coming from elsewhere.

The Local/DAPD/AFP/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:02 May 27, 2011 by samsonite
I think its all rubbish, Spain exports veg to the whole of europe and strangely no other european contries have suffered in any way, whats more, germany's own cucumber production is just coming into season which makes the whole thing a little more suspicious. By removing all spanish competition they stand to profit greatly. One more thing do the germans not advise their people to wash veg before they eat it? isn't that common sense?
16:07 May 27, 2011 by jglammi
Is it a bacteriUM or are there different bacterIA?
22:35 May 27, 2011 by Rocho
I am very disappointed about German authorities and news channels. Firstly, you spread wrong news just to hurt Spain. There is a European protocol for these matters, you HAD to follow it, but you rather preferred to talk to newspapers and TV without prooves. The ONLY thing you can say (and you must say) is that the cucumbers were Spanish. Nothing else. No illness in Spain. No test with E. Coli results in Spain (yes, we do have labs too, we are not just wild hordes eating roots).

Why are you silent about what happened in Hamburg?, why don't you say HERE that many boxes with Spanish cucumber were manipulated (falling to the floor) in a wrong way in the market?. Why don't you say that market in Hamburg delivered those cucumbers to other countries after picking them from the floor???... Why?...

The same message to those northern and nordic countries (where nazis are growing better than cucumbers in Spain). You all absolutly rejected.
18:10 May 28, 2011 by dr.makni49
What ever the fault you heap on Germany to have detected the E. Coli but nature seems determined to defend itself when you intrude in its domain. That should settle the hype for genetically modified crops for the good. Choose you have to between bumper crops or safe crops.
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